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And the earth WAS! (Genesis 1:2)
by Gaines Johnson
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There are three basic schools of Biblical Creationism today. There are the Theistic Evolutionists, Ruin-Reconstructionists (Gap Theorists), and Young Earthers. The latter group predominates Fundamental Christianity today and is the most militant. All three groups are in agreement with the simple Biblical principle stated in Genesis 1:1 which says:

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
(Genesis 1:1 KJV)

Beyond that first verse, however, all agreement quickly disintegrates and the battle for hearts, minds and souls begins.
Theistic Evolutionists generally hold that the Earth is very old and that life evolved as it was "Intelligently Designed" to do by the Creator. Their general position on the interpretation of the seven days of Genesis is that each "day" represents an indeterminate period of time that closely matches the progression of the Earth's theoretical evolutionary development over the millennia.

The Young Earth Creationists take a more traditional view. They believe that all things were first created in six literal 24-hour days. They reject any scientific evidence or arguments that the Earth or the universe is any older than about 6,000 to 10,000 years and vehemently dismiss any arguments to the contrary as a compromise to the Evolutionists, be they Theistic or Secular.

Then there are the "Gap Theory" advocates who espouse the Ruin-Reconstruction interpretation of Genesis and have a completely different and important take on the whole matter, for reasons which will shortly be made clear.

Ruin-Reconstructionists agree with the Young Earthers that the seven days of Genesis represent seven, literal 24-hour days of Creative work by the Lord God (actually six days of work and one day of rest), but disagree that the Earth and universe is that young. In respect to the Earth's age, Ruin-Reconstructionists agree with the Theistic Evolutionists that the Earth is very ancient and there has been life (and death) on the Earth for millions of years, but reject the core premise of the Theory of Evolution.

Ruin-Reconstructionists reject both Young Earth Creationism AND the Theory of Evolution because of what is written in the second verse of Genesis:

"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
(Genesis 1:2 KJV)

Most people, either Young Earth Creationists or Theistic Evolutionists, gloss over this verse almost like it is not even there. Ask a random sampling from either group, "What was the first thing that God created?" and 90% of the time the answer will be "Light!"

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."
(Genesis 1:3-5 KJV)

And those 90% who answered "Light" are dead wrong, according to the Bible. Here is why.

Let's apply some English grammar, common sense, and basic science to the issue. Look back at verse Genesis 1:2 and read it again. On the very first of the Genesis days, before God says, "let there be light," several things are already there. Most notably, 1.) the Earth, 2.) waters, 3.) the "deep," and 4.) darkness. These four things already exist on the first day, so light was not the first thing God created. Technical point: The wording of Genesis 1:3 says, "let there be light" and that in no way implies the initial creation of light; it implies turning on the light or calling for light to shine. In fact, the physics for "light" were already in place back in verse 1:2 because time, matter, and space are already established and "light" is an integral part of the space-time fabric (remember e=mc2). The "darkness" of Genesis 1:2 merely indicates an absence of light.

In response to this line of reasoning Young Earth Creationists will then argue that God created the Earth "without form and void," (and we must assume also the waters and the flooded space called the deep, and time) at the very beginning of the first day. But the Holy Spirit has a counter argument to that objection. Compare these two verses:

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
(Isaiah 45:18 KJV)

"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
(Genesis 1:2 KJV)

Isaiah 45:18 tells us that the Lord God did NOT originally create the Earth in such a desolate condition. The word "vain" in Isaiah 45:18 and the term "without form" in Genesis 1:2 are from the same Hebrew word. These verses by themselves, when rightly-divided in either language, destroys the doctrine of Young Earth Creationism. Genesis 1:2 compared with Isaiah 45:18 rules out God initially making the Earth as a formless mud ball, then turning on the work lights and starting the decorating process.

As the verse clearly says, the Earth is already there. Although it is "without form and void" on the surface, and covered in waters, it is most certainly already the planet Earth. It even has a name...it's called THE EARTH. The presence of water, in either liquid form or ice (or both), tells us that this planet already has some form of an atmosphere. Since nowhere else in the Genesis narrative does the Spirit tell about God establishing the Earth's geologic structure, then we can safely assume that the planet's crust, mantle, and core structure are already fully differentiated. And, based on what we are now coming to learn about the core's composition, there is already a nuclear fission process established in the core producing the heat that drives the Earth's tectonic and volcanic processes and that generates the magnetic field which protects the Earth's surface from lethal radiation from outer space. Oh yes, and outer space is already there too because the Earth is already in space rotating on its axis.

And after seeing that all these things are already present, can we realistically be expected to accept the Young Earth Creationist's argument? Are we to believe that God went "poof" and made the planet Earth, outer space, time, and lots of water, all at the very beginning of the very first day, without a single sentence outlining this complex work? Especially since God then only says, "let there be light" and calls it a day? That seems somewhat out of character in light of the fact that God then spends another five full working days afterward on just the surface features with the Bible fully documenting the work in great detail. Did Moses sleep through that part of the lecture? I don't think so.

The only common sense and Biblical conclusion that these things collectively tell us is that the seven days of Genesis were a reconstruction from the ruins of what was already there. The Word makes a statement of fact on the Earth's ruined condition, and then proceeds to tell us how God regenerated all things. That is the simplicity of the narrative.

The Earth's geological history (which, by the way, God also authored), tells us that this planet is very old. Therefore, there MUST be a Biblical explanation that confirms this observation and provides a Biblical reason why these things are so. And the Ruin-Reconstruction interpretation does exactly that. The Bible gives no specific time when God first created the heaven and the Earth (Genesis 1:1), but it does give the time when the Earth is found in this desolate condition and for the start of the seven days. That time was, indeed, geologically very recently. This is the rational for the "gap" on which Ruin-Reconstruction doctrine is based. Exactly how long that time gap represents nobody can say for sure, but it most certainly could accommodate hundreds of millions of years, or less, but a gap is most certainly there.

At this juncture the diehard Young Earth Creationist, still refusing to consider the Scriptural facts just presented, brushes reason aside and pontificates that the doctrine of this gap is nothing more than a compromise of the Scriptures to accommodate the long periods of time required by the Evolutionary model. This is their answer to anything, Biblical or Scientific, that allows for an old age for the Earth. Is this a valid argument? Not really!

The Earth is "without form and void" at Genesis 1:2 and in darkness. There is no indication of anything being alive on the surface of the Earth, at this time, and that time is roughly about 6,000 years ago. Now, common sense and reasoning tells you that if nothing was alive at that point of time, then there could be nothing (man or beast, fish or fowl, tree or bush) that survived from any previous old world for this world's life forms to have evolved from. The literal wording of Genesis 1:2 rules out the possibility that anything (or anyone) living today evolved from anything that existed before the seven days. Every living thing today was made/created during the days of Genesis. This is why the specific phrasing of "after his kind" or "after their kind" is used by the Spirit in describing the Lord's regenerative work. The implication is that what creatures live on the Earth today were modeled after the same pattern of living things that were alive on the Earth in the world before this one. Since there can be no genetic line of ancestry there is no evolution. Simple!

But that answer has not fully addressed the question. If the "Gap Theory" is not a compromise to evolutionary theory, as our Young Earth Creationist friends claim, then what is its Biblical purpose or redeeming value in allowing for an old age for the Earth and an old world order before the seven days of Genesis? The truth is that it points the way to understanding what happened in the Earth's ancient history shortly after "the beginning" (Genesis 1:1) of all things and reveals the origins and background about Mankind's mortal spiritual adversary, Satan. He has been around for a long, long time and the Earth's geological and fossil record of catastrophes and mass extinctions are the legacy of his original fall in the distant past. And this knowledge leads directly to the core of understanding who we are, why we are here, and why we need salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a sobering body of Biblical information that the "god of this world" fights hard to suppress.

Have you never wondered why is there darkness present at Genesis 1:2 when the Scriptures say that God is light and in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5)? Where did Satan come from, and when did he turn against God? He was in the Garden of Eden, already an enemy of God, before Adam and Eve transgressed. So why is there no mention of that creature's creation or fall anywhere in the Genesis narrative? (It is found in the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel). When were the Angels created? If man was made "a little lower than the angels" (see Psalms 8:5) then what are they? What are the devils in the Gospels and where did they come from? These are the mysteries that the "Gap Theory" interpretation of Genesis unlocks with prayerfully considered observations of the rest of the Bible and many things in the geologic record.

God is the Divine Author of both the Scriptures and the Earth’s Geologic record. Both are from His hand. Both witness to historical Truth. He established the principles and physics by which we can search out the answers to things preserved within the Earth’s geology. His Scriptures provide us with a definitive source of Authority and a faithful guide to verify the validity of those answers. Therefore, it is our firm belief that there cannot possibly be any real contradiction in facts between Geology and Genesis. Any such contradictions only arise within the paradigm of our understanding, be it scientific or scriptural. The geologic and fossil records are the surviving evidence that God preserved for us to testify to the truth that the Earth is very old and was inhabited for a long period before the seven days of Genesis chapter one. Those records, written in stone, also provide evidence of a long reign of Death upon the old Earth and the sudden end of the old world order by a universal destructive event.

One of the greatest remaining mysteries of modern geology is an episode of mass destruction and extinction which occurred in the recent geological age called the Pleistocene, the age just before the Holocene, which is called the age of Man. This extinction event appears to be closely linked with the Ice Age.
Evidence of this global catastrophe consists, in part, of vast "animal cemeteries," found many places around the world, which seem to show a catastrophic and sudden destruction of life all across the planet only a few thousand years ago. This little-known evidence was documented by many back in the 19th century, but this evidence is mostly ignored by the leading scientists of our day because it does not fit into the prevailing Evolutionary paradigm. The Young Earth Creationists, however, have seized upon these reports as their proof of Noah's flood. In actuality, it is the proof of a global extinction event and flood which happened before Noah's flood; indeed before the time of Genesis 1:2, and was only a component of a universal catastrophic event which saw the end of all life on the surface of the Earth before the sevens days of Genesis. And the aftermath of this event is what is described in this New Testament cross-reference:

"For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." (2 Pet 3:5-7 KJV)

The reader should keep firmly in mind that the state-of-the-art of scientific knowledge is constantly changing and completely disregards any input from the Holy Bible. To assume that the scientific theories of today are the end of all true knowledge is foolishness. Conversely, to shun and deny sound scientific evidence under the banner of "Defending the Faith" against “Evil Evolutionists” is equally unwise and foolish - a discredit to the Faith. Clearly, if we believe the literal wording of the Bible, there was indeed a universal creative event during the seven days of Genesis, about 6,000 literal years ago. But the literal wording of the Bible and the Earth's geology reveals that there is more to the story - it was not the original creation of all things. Understanding the time gap in Genesis opens a knowledge gap. You just can't rely on your own understanding or the traditions of man to obtain this knowledge. You have to TRUST the BOOK.

Gaines Johnson
Christian Geology Ministry

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Member Comments
Member Date
Steven Wickstrom 20 Oct 2003
Three main theories on how the earth began. Three main theories on how the earth will end. Coincidence? Hmmm. Don't forget, some of the stars in our night sky are over 20,000 light years away (part of Orion's arm for example). In order for their light to reach us today, it must have traveled for 20,000 years. Intersting to think about. I'll look forward to reading part two in this series.
11 Oct 2003
I thought it was very interesting, but full of holes. If you're going to change my Young Earth mind, I need more data, like geology info and more on the links that take you from one thought to another. Otherwise, I thought the writing was good and the topic challenging. D'Eva Turner


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